Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Measuring and Improving Physical Fitness to improve outcomes after Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation

Can cardiorespiratory fitness prior to hematopoietic cell transplantation be improved and will this limit morbidity and mortality following transplantation?

Submitted by (@sheat0)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

HCT is associated with high rates of morbidity and mortality from transplant-related complications, the reduction of which would lead to higher transplant-mediated cure rates for life-threatening benign and malignant hematologic disorders. Comorbidity and patient-reported functional status impairment are known to increase the risk for transplant-related mortality, but unlike comorbidity, cardiorespiratory fitness is potentially modifiable. The optimal way to improve fitness through pre-transplant exercise and lifestyle interventions is not known, however, and understanding how to affect through a short term intervention would also benefit other cancer and non-cancer health conditions in which future treatment is intensive and associated with significant risk.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Feasibility and Challenges of Addressing the CG or CC:

 

Understanding how to improve cardiorespiratory fitness in a short period of time will require a research agenda that addresses the following challenges: how to measure cardiorespiratory fitness in a generalized and scalable way, which may or may not require maximal exercise testing for all participants; how to design intensive exercise interventions that are at least partially home-based in order to minimize resource burden on patients and centers; and how to personalize intervention delivery and testing in a way that is tailored to the baseline fitness levels and capabilities of each participant. Meeting these challenges will enable large-scale, personalized exercise testing and intervention delivery in other non-transplant populations.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Thomas Shea and William Wood

Voting

47 net votes
69 up votes
22 down votes
Active

Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Can hair follicle stem cells be transformed into new cells or organs?

Dr. Cotsarelis of the Univ. of Pennsylvania identified the bulge area of the hair follicle, which is now thought to contain the hair's stem cells. These cells would seem to be readily available and unique to an individual person. Can further work be done to transform these cells into now only hair cells but other organ tissues?

Submitted by (@info00)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Compelling Question (CQ)

Voting

-15 net votes
5 up votes
20 down votes
Active

Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Embedding the future of regenerative medicine into the open epigenomic landscape of pluripotent human embryonic stem cells

Large-scale profiling of developmental regulators and histone modifications by genome-wide approaches have provided powerful genome-wide, high-throughput, and high resolution techniques that lead to great advances in our understanding of the global phenomena of human developmental processes. However, without a practical strategy to convert pluripotent cells direct into a specific lineage, previous studies are limited ...more »

Submitted by (@xuejunparsons)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Large-scale profiling of developmental regulators and histone modifications by genome-wide approaches have provided powerful genome-wide, high-throughput, and high resolution techniques that lead to great advances in our understanding of the global phenomena of human developmental processes. However, without a practical strategy to convert pluripotent cells direct into a specific lineage, previous studies are limited to profiling of pluripotent human embryonic stem cell (hESC) differentiating multi-lineage aggregates, such as embryoid body that contain mixed cell types of endoderm, mesoderm, and ectoderm cells or a heterogeneous population of embryoid body-derived cardiac cells that contain mixed cell types of cardiomyocytes, smooth muscle cells, and endothelial cells. Their findings have been limited to a small group of genes that have been identified previously in non-human systems, and thus, have not uncovered any new regulatory pathways unique to human development. Although genome-wide mapping of histone modifications and chromatin-associated proteins have already begun to reveal the mechanisms in mouse ESC differentiation, similar studies in hESC are currently lacking due to the difficulty of conventional multi-lineage differentiation approaches in obtaining the large number of purified cells, particularly cardiomyocytes, typically required for ChIP-seq experiments.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Opportunity: Recent technology breakthrough in lineage-specific differentiation of pluripotent hESC by small molecule direct induction allows generation of homogeneous populations of neural or cardiac cells direct from hESC without going through the multi-lineage embryoid body stage. This novel small molecule direct induction approach renders a cascade of neural or cardiac lineage-specific progression directly from the pluripotent state of hESC, providing much-needed in vitro model systems for investigating the genetic and epigenetic programs governing the human embryonic CNS or heart formation. Such in vitro hESC model systems enable direct generation of large numbers of high purity hESC neuronal or cardiomyocyte derivatives required for genome-wide (e.g., ChIP-seq) profiling to reveal the mechanisms responsible for regulating the patterns of gene expression in hESC neuronal or cardiomyocyte specification. It opens the door for further characterizing, identifying, and validating functional elements during human embryonic development in a comprehensive manner. Further using genome-wide approaches to study hESC models of human heart formation will not only provide missing knowledge regarding molecular cardiogenesis in human embryonic development, but also facilitate rapid progress on identification of molecular and genetic therapeutic targets for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Xuejun Parsons

Voting

-24 net votes
9 up votes
33 down votes
Active

Goal 1: Promote Human Health

Stem cell niche in the lung

How do lung progenitors recognize stem cell niches, and what cell-cell interactions mediate normal repair?

Submitted by (@nhlbiforumadministrator)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Compelling Question (CQ)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Research on the stem cell-niche interaction will enhance our understanding of stem cell behavior, enable manipulation of stem cell activity and differentiation potential, and facilitate the development of stem cell-based therapy.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Developing novel models for in vitro 3D culture and in vivo transplantation assays will facilitate the progress.

 

Recent advances have identified and characterized several lung progenitor cell types. However research gaps remain on understanding the interaction of stem cells with the niche, and how the microenvironment impacts on the stem cell activity during injury/repair.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : NHLBI Staff

Voting

8 net votes
23 up votes
15 down votes
Active

Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

The Importance of the Microbiome in Recovery after Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation

Do modifications in the recipient gut or lung microbiome affect development of tolerance and immunologic recovery after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HCT) and can re-institution of a more normal microbiome lead to improved outcomes?

Submitted by (@marymh)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

HCT leads to profound changes in the host microbiome. Some small studies indicate that differential recovery of the gut microbiome is associated with differential outcomes, including graft-versus-host disease and mortality. Less is known about the pulmonary microbiome. Better understanding of the role of the microbiome in facilitating posttransplant recovery could lead to easily administered interventions and provide important insights into the role of different subpopulations of the microbiome on the health of all people.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Preclinical and clinical studies of this area would be greatly facilitated by a microbiome repository linked to high quality clinical data and would provide opportunity for insight into the role of the microbiome in health and disease.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Mary Horowitz

Voting

117 net votes
152 up votes
35 down votes
Active

Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Translational research supporting stem cell therapy for cardiovascular disease

Translational research supporting stem cell therapy for cardiovascular disease, including: core laboratories for preclinical IND-enabling studies (e.g., PACT), and clinical trials networks for evaluating promising new treatments (e.g., CCTRN).

Submitted by (@judith.l.bettencourt)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

The most cost effective scientific procedure ever utilized to answer the risk benefit question posed by a new intervention to be used in humans is a clinical trial. Major clinical trials are their most effective when planted in controversial ground (MRFIT, CAST, ALLHAT). Like these studies, which were caught in a controversial dynamic of uncertainties and disparate sets of expectations, a clinical trial network to assess cell therapy is precisely what is needed.

Experienced researchers recognize the current inimical environment of cell therapy. Now - as before - some forces argue that new therapy offers no benefits, while other equally vehement constituents contend that the benefits of therapy are so great, and the risks so small, that the treatment requires little if any regulation and should be available at once to the US public. Each side provides thunder, but little light.

It is precisely in this contentious environment where passions argue beyond the data that clinical trials are required. Their construction of the most objective view of the strengths and weaknesses of the intervention comes at a cost, but the answers these well designed and concordantly executed studies provide is the clearest illuminations of the benefits and risks of human cell therapy.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Based on the unmet clinical needs in the treatment of cardiovascular disease and the compelling early evidence for the promise of cell therapy, NHLBI created the Cardiovascular Cell Therapy Research Network in 2007. Now in its ninth year, the Network has completed three major clinical trials in cell therapy. It has published 35 manuscripts in prestigious clinical journals including JAMA, Circ, and Circ Research. Its biorepository has published two manuscripts relating baseline phenotype findings to measures of left ventricular function. A fourth clinical trial is underway assessing the effect of cell therapy on peripheral vascular disease. The Network is also proceeding with the largest effort to assess the effect of CSC cells in patients with heart failure - the first clinical trial that will assess the effect of combined cell therapy in heart failure patients. In addition, CCTRN will study the effect of allogeneic mesenchymal stem cells in patients with anthracycline-induced cardiomyopathy. Each of these protocols is NHLBI and FDA approved.

CCTRN’s reputation of conducting and then promulgating the results of high quality clinical trials makes it the most effective mechanism to assess the benefits of cell therapy in cardiovascular disease. It is important to continue to fund the infrastructure already in place to ensure its continued high quality operation and its place as the cornerstone of cardiovascular clinical cell therapy research in the United States.

Voting

115 net votes
149 up votes
34 down votes
Active

Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Lung progenitors and disease

What is the role of lung stem/progenitor cells in disease?

Which diseases involve stem cell defects?

Submitted by (@nhlbiforumadministrator1)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Compelling Question (CQ)

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : NHLBI Staff

Voting

-4 net votes
13 up votes
17 down votes
Active

Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Exploring Future Cardiovascular Medicine: Heart Precursors Directed from Human Embryonic Stem Cells for Myocardium Regeneration

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a major health problem and the leading cause of death in the Western world. Currently, there is no treatment option or compound drug of molecular entity that can change the prognosis of CVD.

Submitted by (@xuejunparsons)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

The human stem cell is emerging as a new type of pharmacologic agent of cellular entity that is much more complex in structure, function, and activity than the conventional drug of molecular entity, which is usually comprised of simple chemicals or compounds. Since the etiologies of most diseases that involve both molecular and cellular processes are much more complex than simple chemicals or molecules, conventional chemical drugs are often severely limited by the molecular entity of the compound that usually targets or blocks certain pathological molecular pathways, which would otherwise be harmful to common molecular pathways shared in normal cellular processes of vital tissues and organs, thus, cause severe toxic side effects that may outweigh the benefits. For instance, a drug for weight loss may cause severe damage to the heart. In addition, the therapeutic effects of conventional drugs of molecular entity provide only temporary or short-term symptomatic relief but cannot change the prognosis of disease. As a result, millions of molecular leads generated in mainstream of biomedical research from animal studies and studies of other lower organisms have vanished before even reach clinical trials, or for a few lucky ones, in clinical trials. In the last few decades, despite of many animal leads, no drug of molecular entity has ever been approved by FDA as a new treatment for heart disease and failure for humans.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Opportunity: In contrast, the human stem cell has the potential for human tissue and function restoration that the conventional drug of molecular entity lacks. The ability of a human stem cell, by definition, to both self-renew and differentiation makes it a practically inexhaustible source of replacement cells for many devastating or fatal diseases that have been considered as incurable, such as neurodegenerative diseases and heart diseases. The pharmacologic activity of human stem cells is measured by their extraordinary cellular ability to regenerate the tissue or organ that has been damaged or lost, such as the heart in the case of human cardiac stem cells. Therefore, the pharmacologic utility of human stem cells cannot be satisfied only by their chaperone activity, if any, to produce trophic or protective molecules to rescue existing endogenous host cells that can simply be accomplished by a drug of molecular entity. The embryo-originated human embryonic stem cells (hESC) are not only pluripotent, but also incredibly stable and positive, proffering unique revenue to generate a large supply of cardiac lineage-committed stem/precursor/progenitor cells as well as functional cardiomyocytes as adequate human myocardial grafts for cell-based therapy. Currently, the hESC cardiomyocyte therapy derivatives provide the only available human cell sources with adequate capacity to regenerate the contractile heart muscles, vital for heart repair in the clinical setting.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Xuejun Parsons

Voting

-19 net votes
9 up votes
28 down votes
Active

Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Regenerative Medicine 2.0 in Heart and Lung Research - Back to the Drawing Board

Stem cell therapies have been quite successful in hematologic disease but the outcomes of clinical studies using stem cells for cardiopulmonary disease have been rather modest. Explanations for this discrepancy such as the fact that our blood has a high rate of physiologic, endogenous turnover and regeneration whereas these processes occur at far lower rates in the heart and lung. Furthermore, hematopoietic stem cells ...more »

Submitted by (@jalees)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Some barriers to successfully implementing cardiopulmonary regeneration include the complex heterogeneous nature of the heart and lung.

 

Hematopoietic stem cells can give rise to all hematopoietic cells but the heart and lung appear to contain numerous pools of distinct regenerative stem and progenitor cells, many of which only regenerate a limited cell type in the respective organ. The approach of injecting one stem cell type that worked so well for hematopoietic stem cells is unlikely to work in the heart and lung.

 

We therefore need new approaches which combine multiple regenerative cell types and pathways in order to successfully repair and regenerate heart and lung tissues. These cell types will likely also require specific matrix cues since there are numerous, heterogeneous microenvironments in the heart and lung.

 

If we rethink our current approaches to regenerating the heart and lung and we use combined approaches in which multiple cell types and microevironments are concomitantly regenerated (ideally by large scale collaborations between laboratories), we are much more likely to achieve success.

 

This will represent a departure from the often practiced "Hey, let us inject our favorite cell" approach that worked so well in hematologic disease but these novel, combined approaches targeting multiple endogenous and/or exogenous regenerative cells could fundamentally change our ability to treat heart and lung disease.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Jalees Rehman

Voting

7 net votes
11 up votes
4 down votes
Active

Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

The potency and safety of transfusable red blood cells

Can we identify approaches to improve potency and/or safety of transfusable RBCs? 42 day pre-transfusion storage of RBCs maximizes utilization, while minimizing waste. However, RBCs undergo changes during collection, manipulation and storage that may reduce their potency or safety. Progress in understanding markers that predict transfusion success at the time of collection and with storage remains slow. New technologies ...more »

Submitted by (@nareg.roubinian)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Compelling Question (CQ)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

While novel RBC storage methods have been described, the mechanisms underlying their efficacy has not been defined, a step that will be important for further improvements in this area. Some of these methods appear to improve efficacy of the RBC bioenergetic pathways; however, to date there have not been notable advances in reducing cytoskeletal defects common in stored RBCs. The development of new RBC preservation methods that minimize the impact of the storage lesion on specific areas of concern (e.g., diminished oxidation/peroxidation, decreased membrane fragility) is needed.

 

Use of ex vivo generated RBCs is an alternative to conventional donor-derived RBCs which can potentially improve product consistency, reduce the storage lesion, and improve safety. However, advances are needed before this approach is feasible on a large scale. While the development of blood substitutes including blood pharming will likely require more than 3-10 years before it can be ready for the clinic, Blood Pharming from hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells is now technically feasible and the recent development of genome editing methods suggests the exciting possibility of generating GMP compliant “immortal” stem cell sources to produce transfusable RBCs.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Research should include both pre-clinical and clinical studies to define optimal combinations of known factors preserving red cells (e.g. hypo-osmolarity, energy sources, antioxidants), and the development of methods for RBC pathogen reduction that do not increase the storage lesion.

 

Procedures for generating blood cells from cultured stem/progenitor cells is not currently cost-effective, limiting near term applications to special patient populations such as specific RBC phenotyping of rare donors for chronically transfused patients. Areas of research needed to advance the development of blood substitutes and blood pharming include: (a) new approaches to blood substitutes including artificial oxygen carriers generated from red cell lysates/components or engineered from combinatorial chemico-biological approaches (e.g., derivatization of hemoglobin, encapsidation of modulated oxygen carriers); (b) a better understanding of the biological properties of cultured RBCs with the goal of reducing blood pharming costs; (c) optimizing methods to expand stem cell populations while allowing differentiation to selected clinically relevant blood cell populations at clinically relevant levels; and (d) optimizing methodologies that faithfully replicate embryonic development to develop the cells of interest.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Nareg Roubinian, MD and Naomi Luban, MD for the NHLBI State of the Science in Transfusion Medicine

Voting

14 net votes
31 up votes
17 down votes
Active

Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Harnessing Lung Regenerative Capacity to Improve and Increase Donor Lungs for Transplantation.

Using knowledge of matrix biology and lung development, what are useable methods to modify cadaveric donor lungs to provide a durable, effective organ replacement therapy?

Submitted by (@nhlbiforumadministrator)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Compelling Question (CQ)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

A major advance in this area will increase the number of donor lungs available for lung transplantation

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

A number of stem and progenitor cells involved in lung repair and regeneration have been identified. Targeting them for expansions in damaged donor lungs may turn these damaged lungs into healthier lungs that can then be used for lung transplant safely.

Most of the donor lungs are not suitable for lung transplantation because the premorbid conditions of the donors often also damaged the lungs. Bioreactors have been used to “rehab” these damaged lungs and optimizing the ex vivo condition in these bioreactors may accelerate the lung repair process.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : NHLBI Staff

Voting

1 net vote
18 up votes
17 down votes
Active

Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Overcoming barriers to translational regenerative medicine

Current stem cell based approaches to translational medicine predominantly show modest efficacy. Most research rest on accepting existing limitations and focusing upon "tweaks" to the experimental model rather than taking on important barriers head on. The efficacy of stem cell-based regenerative medicine will never be fully realized unless we stop trying overly simplistic approaches such as"more is better" and start ...more »

Submitted by (@heartman4ever)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

The field of regenerative medicine holds great potential but we risk losing the public trust by hyperbolic promises, modest efficacy, and incremental research steps. Truly innovative research will transform the landscape and offer truly novel therapeutic approaches to many current incurable conditions. The result is a dramatic shift in the practice of medicine, new options for treatment, enhanced engagement of the public in biomedical research and new growth opportunities for the NIH and biotech sectors.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

The future is here for regenerative medicine, but for the most part the potential and practice has been unrealized or poorly executed. The challenge is to identify the limiting factors and sweep them aside. There is broad and surprisingly consistent consensus on what the barriers are to successful regenerative therapy, but it seems most researchers are complacent and accept these limitations as inherent in the system rather than try to find truly combative approaches to overcome the barriers to enhancing regenerative processes. So it is essential to change the current mindset and push for a full frontal attack on the barriers that impede successful regeneration rather than minor modifications or uninspired brute force approaches that ignore the underlying mechanistic issues. Also, a major challenge is the hyperbole and overselling of research findings and impact by researchers and their institutions looking to capitalize upon the "discovery de jour." Such overly optimistic and unrealistic promises undermine our position in the public eye and compromise our future ability to earn the public trust.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : M Sussman

Voting

-6 net votes
14 up votes
20 down votes
Active